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Column: Glynn-Brunswick game brings back memories of days gone by

Pirates and Terrors will give us more memories tonight in annual City Championship Game.

Someone asked me earlier this week how many Glynn-Brunswick football games I have been to either as a fan or journalist.

Well, I haven’t seen them all. I wasn’t around when the two local schools first started playing in 1968.

But, I suppose I saw a few games that I don’t remember in the 1970s, and I’m pretty sure I saw most of the games between the Pirates and the Red Terrors during the 1980s as a kid growing up here in Glynn County.

I did miss a few games in the early 1990s while off at college, but I made sure to check the newspaper on Saturday mornings during those years for the score and would read about the games a few days later after my mom mailed me the sports pages from the Brunswick News.

But for sure, I have seen every game between GA and BHS since 1995 when I covered the game as a young sports scribe for the first time.

That also was the first and only year that Steve Shankweiler coached for Glynn in the series. He came to town, got beat twice by a combined score of 60-6 and left with a big fat paycheck after his 1-9 season. What did he care?

I do remember, though, hearing about how he sat with his new coaching staff at Glynn County Stadium and listened as the Glynn assistants reeled off play after play that the Pirates were running in their spring game.

Supposedly, Shankweiler asked them how did they lose so badly to the Pirates that previous fall if they knew what they were running every time.

Rumor has it, the Glynn coaches responded in unison with this: “Coach, it’s not the Xs and Os, it’s the Jimmys and the Joes.”

Now, some 23 years later, the Pirates and Terrors are set to renew their rivalry Friday night at GC Stadium with the Pirates taking a 37-35-2 series lead into the game, but with the Terrors having won the last four games in the series.

When it comes to Brunswick-Glynn – or is it Glynn-Brunswick? – a lot of things come to mind. And, I am certain I have forgotten a lot of things, too.

But, here are some recollections:

* I remember Glynn running that old run-and-shoot offense.

* Then, there was Brunswick coach John Willis coaching in that Seattle Seahawks hat for a season.

* Then, there was the first game at GC Stadium when the power went out and the guys parachuting onto the field with the game ball missed the mark and landed back behind the visiting stands in the old dump.

* There was also that 6-2 Glynn Academy win in 1993 when Brunswick had a loaded backfield but failed to score a touchdown.

* And, there was that 44-12 win by Glynn in 2000 under Terry Tuley that ended the six-game win string by the Pirates who had been to the state title game the previous fall.

* And how about that Brunswick win over Glynn in the 1985 season finale at old Lanier Field when a 5-4 Brunswick team stunned a 9-0 and third-ranked GA team 28-15? And, I think that night the Pirates  showed up just moments before kickoff after having warmed up out of town because they had played better on the road during the season. That was a Coach Willis mind trick. I guess it worked.

* I remember Brunswick’s anchor on campus getting painted Red and White, and the bell on Glynn’s campus getting painted Blue and Gold – several times.

* I recall Brunswick once having this thing called Hamburger Hill, which was basically a grave yard where they buried the opponents they had beaten that season. Supposedly, it was Glynn students or players who destroyed it the night before the game, but it was actually Coach Willis who did it and discovered it the next morning. Brunswick won later than night because the Pirates believed Glynn had done the deed and they were out for blood, I guess.

* And who can forget the “It’s personal game” in 2011 when Glynn won 34-0 and GA coach Rob Ridings and Brunswick coach Victory Floyd got in a heated verbal altercation while the teams were shaking hands after the game. Ridings commented that “it will always be personal” and Floyd then had his say before GA assistant Bob Black and BHS assistant Charles Skipper -two really good friends – stepped between their bosses to make sure things didn’t escalate from there. Funny thing is, a Jacksonville news station was there covering the game as its Game of the Week and the camera man on assignment got it all on tape and showed it on the news that night.

* For some reason, I remember the local newspaper headline we had – “Paint the Town Red” – following Glynn’s 44-12 victory in 2004, the first under Ridings, which ended a three-game skid for the Terrors in the series.

* I remember a high school friend writing “GA Will Die at the Hands of the High” in white shoe polish on the back window of his car prior to the region semifinal between the Pirates and Terrors in 1989. Glynn had won the season finale 14-7 the week earlier, but Brunswick did beat Glynn seven days later 16-14 before beating Bradwell Institute the next week for the region title and then two weeks later losing big at Valdosta in the first round of state.

* I can’t possibly forget Murray Poole’s yearly tradition in the Brunswick News during GA-BHS week of “What the Coaches Say” when he got comments from every coach on the staff about the game and also “What the Captains Say’ when he quoted the team captains on their thoughts about the game. And those were always accompanied by the photo of the head coaches such as David McKnight and Jimmy Howe acting like they were going over the game plan with the captains on the practice field.

* I remember in 2007 when us sports writers talked about the game on the field for our weekly video show and I predicted the game was a race to 20. And it was. Brunswick won 20-17 under head coach Maurice Freeman.

I could go on and on, just as I am sure many of you could as well.

But, I better go. It’s time to get other things done before going out to the game tonight.

I hope to see you there.

Good luck to whichever team you choose to root for tonight.

And if you don’t care who wins, well, that’s fine, too.

Come on out. It’s a good community event.

This Week’s City Championship Game Coverage:

Tuesday – Quick Look at Glynn vs. Brunswick

Wednesday – GA, BHS Traditions on Friday night

Thursday – Red Terrors vs. Pirates Game Preview

Friday – Game Day Column

Saturday – City Championship Game Recap

Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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